Rachel Leven is a 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholar. Continuing an early interest in the study of  waste management policy and practice, she will be spending the year in India working with The Energy and Resources Institute. Her project, titled “Solid Waste Management Innovations and Trends” will focus on the development of a modern waste sector in India including technological trends as well as the social, political, and economic challenges facing systemic growth.

Rachel’s passion for trash, like so many great loves, was the result of lots of luck and a sprinkle of opportunity. Having chosen a largely random subject for a school sponsored research trip to Egypt, Rachel happened to visit Cairo at a time of great upheaval in the city’s waste management system. Her first published paper, “The Pharaoh’s Garbage” remains one of the few scholarly works on the subject of Egypt’s modern waste system. Since then she has explored issues of solid waste on an ever expanding scale.  A few of her published articles can be found below.

In addition to researching and writing about waste management, Rachel’s work experience includes time at the Center for Public Integrity in D.C. and three years at Foreign Affairs magazine where she was Assistant Manager of Operations and Marketing.

The views expressed in this blog are her own and do not reflect those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.


“Green Eggs and Plastic: Why organic food uses so much enviro-unfriendly plastic,” Slate, 04/22/09.

“Garbage In, Garbage Out: Why a merger in the waste business stinks,” Slate, 12/08/08.

“The Pharaoh’s Garbage: Growth and Change in Egypt’s Waste Management System,” NIMEP Insights, Vol. 2, pp 55-70, Spring 2006.

The photo used for this website’s
headline is courtesy of D’Arcy Norman.

Contact Rachel Leven at Leven.Rachel at Gmail